A Mother's Stroke
Email Bankruptcy

By the Hair on Crabby Old Lady's Chinny Chin Chin

Before she even gets started, let Crabby Old Lady be clear: she is deeply grateful that so far – at age 73 – she has escaped the common conditions and diseases of old age. No arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. and no recurrence of the one little basal cell carcinoma from five or six years ago.

Crabby knows how lucky she is but that doesn't mean she's sanguine about the minor afflictions of age.

Floaters anyone? Not a day goes by that Crabby isn't trying to brush little black bugs off her food.

The only time of day Crabby can escape her tinnitus is in the shower when the sound of falling water neutralizes it. But silence? Crabby hasn't been without noise in her ears for six or eight years.

Toad spots (seborrheic keratoses) – harmless but ugly – come and go. The only grace is that when they appear on Crabby's face, they are usually skin color, not dark brown like the others.

All these are annoying enough but the worst is chin hair which in Crabby's case extends to her upper lip.

The reason for them is boring enough: old women have hardly any estrogen left so testosterone takes over and that means hair – just not where she wants it on her head.

Just as there is no cure for baldness, there is also no cure for excess facial hair on women and the available treatments are awful.

Electrolysis and laser treatments - if they work at all – are successful mostly on dark hair and hardly ever on light hair like Crabby's. Besides, it takes six to 12 treatments to show results, is hugely expensive and must be repeated about twice a year. Forever.

Waxing is best done professionally, is painful, expensive and must be repeated about once a month – and you know how fast time flies when you're old.

Over-the-counter creams and strips are no better. They're messy, hard to apply and too often damage skin. Trust Crabby, it is a horrible procedure.

Plucking or tweezing don't work for Crabby. They are painful and although the hair does come out, little red bumps erupt on her skin where each and every hair was pulled out. No thanks.

All that is so depressing that Crabby might consider becoming the bearded lady in a circus (do they still have those?). If only there was more hair on her chin and upper lip, but alas. So Crabby is left with shaving.

It is a myth that shaving makes new growth thicker. The real difference is that shaved hairs have blunt ends instead of the tapered, softer tips of hair that has not been is shaved.

Crabby uses a cute little electric razor made especially for old women's facial hair problems. Actually, she uses it when she remembers to which often doesn't happen until she can nearly braid the hair on her chin.

Okay, Crabby exaggerates – she's slightly more diligent than that. But she has come to understand why a lot of men hate shaving and she's not happy that this latest item on her list of irritating old age afflictions will, like all the others, last until she dies.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Marc Leavitt: This Old Man


My friend says her tweezers are her best friends.

I say she should keep them in a little holster or behind her ear as a fashion statement.

Some chin hairs could do double time as crane cables.

I'm pretty quick on the draw with my own tweezers.

Clint Eastwood would be impressed.

Maybe put my friend and I in a movie.

"The Good, the Bad and the Hairy"

I pluck my witch hairs. I can feel them with my fingers before I can see them.

Does anyone know how long those babies would grow, if we didn't annihilate them? Ugh.

Melting wax is and applying it is a difficult job but try the strips with wax they are the best solution. Just warm them up in your hand and when the wax gets warm just apply them for a minute or two then pull.

I keep a pair of tweezers in my car because it seems like it's always when I'm going some place that I see the chin hairs---something about the way the light comes in from the sides. I also use the wax strips from time to time. Chin hair is what it is and not worth getting my panties in a bunch over. Having my finger joints starting to get deformed is worse. You can't do anything about that.

Mine have been going along for such a long time that somehow I've become reconciled to them. But my tweezers are my best friend. I inherited my mom's pair, so she looks back at me, smiling in the mirror.

I sit in front of the computer with tweezers in hand and pluck,pluck,pluck. When I don't get them all that way I use my cute little razor, too.

My facial hairs are light and when I think I have removed every last hair I look in a mirror where the sun hits my face and find more.

Like Jean, I find this to be a very minor irritation of the aging process.

I swear every time a hair leaves my darling, balding husband's head, it finds re-birth on my chin or upper lip. (And I shave more than pluck.) I'd love to hear why some older women choose to let those hairs just grow and grow, hanging like stalactites. I once assumed it was poor eyesight, but maybe not....?

I tried electrolysis when I was younger since facial/upper lip hair have always plagued me after early menopause at 46. EXPENSIVE!

Then went through years of using stinky creams... now I just have my upper lip and eyebrows waxed at the nail salon - it really is not that painful- and shave the rest with my 3-blade hand razor in the shower. It works!

My mom, who died at 92, used an electric razor for many years. Loved the comment above above her mother smiling at her in the
mirror! I, too, look so much like my mom now!

I remember watching my grandma tweezing out annoying hair. It was a mystery. Now I tweeze too especially that inch long white horror on the right side of my chin.


Shaving my ears, trimming eyebrows and clipping nostril hairs is a pain too.

I guess it's a grade-off. As men age, they tend to lose hair from their heads. But they can grow beards to cover up wrinkles on the lower part of their faces.

Many men look quite distinguished with a beard, earning them kudos as "grey-beards."

Wow! Telling it like it is! I thought I read somewhere that we ladies loose the estrogen, but retain the testosterone that our bodies also make, which makes these unwanted "hairy" situations a real pain. I love my little Remington battery operated wand...it works for a lot of unwanted facial stuff and works well with a magnified mirror! Yea!

Aren't we all different? The women in my family (at least the five generations, including mine, that I knew personally) did not produce a lot of facial hair; but, as a young girl I always thought that the peach fuzz they had as "sideburns" made them look old. So...when I went through menopause I started using a disposable razor on my sideburns and upper lip - I who had such light hair that I didn't shave my legs!

When Dad died, I started using his razor that takes double-edged blades. I use about 4 blades/year. Our daughter, OTOH, being brunette has always "had to" shave her legs and, especially since she hit menopause, displays dark sideburns - about which I say not a word. Different things bother different people and, if the hair doesn't bother her, why should it bother me?

Crabby is right about our being prone to complain about small stuff. We're human, I guess.

Two things come to mind.

1. I see everyone is looking at the humor in this situation.

2. What is the name of everyone favorite gadget. I use disposal razor... It's name is Harriet.

Hmm. No one mentioned using an epilator. I've used one specifically made for the face for years. Pulls the hairs out and doesn't hurt any more than tweezers. I like it better than shaving because it takes the hairs longer to grow back.

I've been plucking for a while now. I usually do while watching tv. I've said to my son if for some reason I become incapacitated could he please take over? I think he was horrified. I am deadly serious.

I keep a small magnifying mirror and tweezers next to my computer. If I get really ambitious, I resort to the little wax strips. I'm lucky to have mostly just pale blonde peach fuzz, but even that annoys me if the light hits it just right. I try to console myself by remembering that if I need a magnifying glass to see the hair, probably no one else can see it. Small consolation.

Had a good laugh over Jen's comment. I'll have to try that on my son one of these days!

Jen's post about asking her son reminded me of when I spent 8 months in hospital in 2009 pretty well incapacitated. One day a male nurse came in with scissors and said, I hope you don't mind then proceeded to trim my facial hair . . . none of the women had thought of doing it - or were being discrete? He was the BEST, most caring nurse I've ever encountered - he sang in a choir and one day brought some fellow choristers into my room and gave a mini concert.

Maureen, what is the Remington wand you use? I've never heard of one. I googled Remington wand and all that came up were curling irons! I don't think that's what you're doing with your! lol

I pluck long hairs but, like you, I shave regularly. Have been doing so for years. Solves a lot of problems - chin, sides of mouth, mustache, fast and easily. Bought a bunch of pink razors, inexpensive and effective. Once a fortnight. I can't stand the idea of having those old goat hairs on my chin. Only problem is when in the sun, the blunt ends are visible if not recently shaved.

Oh the perils of aging that no one warns us about. I gave up on depilatories, mostly because my "mustache" just laughed at them---that is, the black hairs simply poked right through the cream---and everything else hurts like hell. Shaving is quick, cheap, painless and does the job. But Jen and Annie brought up my nightmare scenario: lying on my deathbed and growing a stash right there in front of everyone. I know my son would be freaked out but I have a beloved gay grandson, so maybe he will have the sensitivity to understand my plight and I can talk to him about shaving it so I can "save face." -Meg

Let me pour some testosterone into this dwindling pool of estrogen. We old dudes have hair problems too. While my hair has almost completely disappeared from my head, it has manifested itself in places where no hair has grown before. And. of course, it is totally useless hair. Why would anybody need hair in their ears. Like I don't have enough trouble hearing. And what's going on with my eyebrows. Is all that growth supposed to protect my eyes from the sun? And then there is that one long strand of hair that I found growing out of my ear lobe. While it's nice to know that I can still grow stuff, its disheartening to know I can't grow it where I want it. I guess we guys do have one advantage over the ladies. At least we can shave it off without the stigma attached.

"Not by the hair on my chinny, chin chin!"
Normal aging. We woman become dowager matriarchs and the men become tame and docile and easier to guide.
It is the estrogen/testosterone balance.
That's why when I dream of men, I dream of young men.
I like old men, but I dream of young men!
And nobody dreams of me anymore! But I do think I am more likeable.
Well, some of us feel the rain, and some of us just get wet.
I'm feelin' the rain!"

Post-stroke I have to resort to turning over the tweezers to my helpful hubby. Since neither of us can see that well, either, I have been contemplating who I could ask to help with such a task. Like EmmaJay's, my facial hair mocks waxing and creams. Also tried waxing at a salon but burned skin stayed brown for weeks and bristles were unaffected. I, too, want ID on that electric wand.

Remington MPT3800SSB Smooth and Silky Precision Trimmer by Remington. This is the newest model which has a light. Mine is several years old, does not have a light, and is still working. I do not remember where I bought mine.

I loved your comments, Bruce! My husband enjoyed them too. Did you have a chance to read my comments about "Fargo", and growing up in ND?

I love you, Bruce. You give us a lot of laughs. But I have to argue with one point. It's not the "stigma" of shaving, it's the shaving itself that I hate. And you guys DO have a big advantage: if you let the stubble grow, it's just considered sexy. -Meg

When I have my hair cut, she trims my eye brows and waxes my 'too much facial hair' Works for me.

I turn 80 in one more week. Oh, I'm so glad I found your website - and so sorry I didn't find it much, much sooner!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)